It’s uniquely Peugeot

2012-07-20 14:51

Peugeot fanatic Babalwa Shota gets behind the wheel of the impossibly sexy RCZ 2.0 HDiand growls (and squeals) her way through the streets of Joburg

Let’s face it, local car enthusiasts don’t exactly swoon at the mention of a Peugeot.

 For some reason, South Africans have not taken to the French manufacturer the way they have to all brands German – which makes driving a Peugeot all the more special because of how its exotic looks always draw the eye.

While the wide panoramic windscreen and extreme cat-eye headlamps have not always worked to the aesthetic advantage of the brand’s sedans, the nippy RCZ 2.0 HDi has claimed that trademark look as its own.

Opinions may vary on whether the car is beautiful or ugly, but everyone agrees that it looks “unique”.

The black beauty I had on loan for a weekend was a joy to drive.

As a Peugeot driver for the past eight years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting behind the wheel of a few models, but this one growls above the rest.

First shown as a concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show almost five years ago, the sports coupe has sold over 30 000 units in Europe since its launch in 2009.

But in South Africa, sales have been sluggish.

Says Jean Francois Bacos, managing director of Peugeot South Africa: “While we are pleased with the RCZ sales we’ve achieved since the car was launched here last August, we could have sold considerably more if we had been able to source enough stock.”

So, what are South Africans missing?

In keeping with the sports coupe look, the car is low on the ground and has a slick body and contours like a reclining lady of leisure.

It has a distinctive double-bubble roof, and the contrasting aluminium roof arches make for a powerful visual impact.

It looks and feels like a spoilt little rich girl – and I love that!

As with most of the latest Peugeot models, the RCZ’s side mirrors fold in when the car is locked and out when unlocked.

Inside, the high-quality leather is so plush it won’t stick to your legs in summer or make you slide off in winter.

The sleek and streamlined dashboard is decidedly sporty without being intimidating.

Not being a fan of coupes because of their cramped feel, I was pleasantly surprised by the leg room.

The occasional rear seats are contoured and made more comfortable by that extra headroom under the double-bubble roof and rear window.

There are all sorts of useful specs for those who care about that stuff.

For me, it was all about the looks, the growl of the diesel engine, the speed, the comfort and the buttons that made me squeal with delight every time I pushed one and discovered something new.

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